Below is a documentary looking at photojournalism.
Some of the photographers who do it and their views on the value of it and ultimately the price that is paid by them to do it.
A number of those in the documentary have subsequently been killed and/or died and it offers a realistic and glamour free view of a profession that has, unfortunately, become less understood and appreciated by not only the wider public but indeed by the very magazines and newspapers that used to print their pictures opting instead for a steady stream of meaningless celebrity news that seems to dominate the news agenda either because the organisations have to pander to the revenue generated by the sales as that demand for meaningless and pointless pictures of celebrities grows or because the audience lacks the courage and the intelligence to take on board issues that they fear may overwhelm them.
Pictures from war, ethnic cleansing, natural disasters, man made disasters, violence – natural or otherwise, poverty, starvation the list is endless….so to is the manner in which man is so unbelievably cruel to his fellow man. Is seems to know no boundaries. Spiraling upwards in a cycle of horrors that seem to constantly try and outdo the previous one.
Is it worth it? Is it worth photographing? Is the perceived news value of the pictures they produce worthwhile? Does the perception, most might say a naive perception, that it makes a difference make it worth it? Do people, generally, despite their words of shock or outrage and promises of action really care or is it just posturing for appearances sake. Have we slipped so far down the evolutionary scale when it comes to our humanity and what we will accept or not accept that viewing these pictures really makes no difference to us at all?
I believe that generally it doesn’t make a difference – not immediately. One picture will never stop a war. If only they could. Ultimately the spiral will continue upwards. People will continue to kill, humiliate and show complete disregard for each other that nothing will change it. We are inevitably programmed, it would appear, to continue to destroy each other one way or another and one photograph can’t really stop that.
But as a record…..?
As a historical document – to be preserved for the collective history of all – then I believe it is of huge importance to have these photographs and that maybe, one day, the smartest species on the planet – which is us apparently – might have the capacity to learn from these pictures and from the damage that we, like nothing else on earth, can inflict on each other and try and change things.
But don’t hold your breath.